Notes on the segmentation of Pali Vinaya with Brahmali's translation


Segments 3152–3182 in Kd 1 have a most amazing list of hindrances to going forth, which in the English has one item less than in the Pali. If I figured it out correctly the lacking English translation is in segment 3158, aḷacchinnaṃ pabbājenti.

Added: In the second occurrence of the same list there is in fact a note saying that aḷacchinna has been combined withe the previous item—so I seem to have figured out the right thing. :+1: :wink:

This list is in fact a bit hard to take on board, in my mind. I can well understand that it is inadequate to ordain a wanted criminal—but someone with any sort of physical impairment, or even just “abnormal appearance”… why should they not be allowed to join the order? Or someone who has committed a crime and has undergone their penalty, like being whipped or branded (or various limbs cut off, which I suspect is the meaning of being “without a hand, a foot,” etc.), why should they not be allowed to become a monastic? This list has mostly people who would be quite likely to encounter discrimination in various fields of society—and I had hoped that in the Buddhist order that would be different! :cry:


Yes, it can seem a bit unfair. I suppose the reason for not allowing them to go forth is that some such people found it hard to make a living and thus joined the Sangha to survive, but without having any spiritual aspirations. Although you may have compassion for people in a difficult situation, you can see why this would have been a problem for the Sangha.

What to do in the present day I am not sure. It is rare for such cases to come up. Usually you wait with figuring it out until there is a need. If you deal only with concrete situations, the number of hard vinaya issues you need to resolve is much reduced! But my gut feeling is that we would usually allow them to ordain. In the present age no-one would join the Sangha simply to make ends meet, at least not in Australia.


:smile: My gut feeling is that looking at the motivation would be much better than just at the physical characteristic. Also, for example blind people might have been a heavy burden to the Sangha at that time, but nowadays there are much more aids available for them, and although still needing some degree of support, they can do many things quite independently. And most importantly, going forth would not be a means to provide them with the necessary support—outside a monastery it is much easier for them to find that support. So if they wish to go forth there must be a different motivation.


Mahākhandhako niṭṭhito.

Although this is the longest of the Khandhakas, it is in some respects much more succinct than most others. So in most cases, when someone has to report what has happened, it is just “Atha kho so bhikkhu bhikkhūnaṃ etamatthaṃ ārocesi.”, “and he told them what had happened”—instead of repeating the whole event word by word.

So they can be succinct, the Vinaya compilers, but they don’t apply this ability all too often… :wink:

And, Ajahn @brahmali, please send me another one!


Excellent! Not just Mahakkhandhako niṭṭhito, but Mahāvaggo nitthito! We are making good progress. There is not much left now, just half of the Cullavagga or thereabouts.

The next khandhaka is the Khuddakavatthukkhandhaka, the 15th chapter, which is full of all sorts of small rules, some of which are quite interesting. This khandhaka too is quite long, but hopefully you will enjoy it nonetheless. It’s on its way!


At some point they’ll all be finished, the short ones and the long ones.

This looks like another example for the ever impressive creativity of the monks from the group of six… :wink:

Ajahn, there are a few segments that are not translated:

Kd 15 segments 41–44
Atha kho te bhikkhū bhagavato etamatthaṃ ārocesuṃ … pe …
“saccaṃ, bhagavā”ti … pe …
vigarahitvā … pe …
dhammiṃ kathaṃ katvā bhikkhū āmantesi—

I am not sure if this is on purpose?

Later on, a few times the translation for Bhagavato etamatthaṃ ārocesuṃ is left out, but this looks pretty much like on purpose to me.

—But going further on, this is not consistent. Sometimes it is translated, sometimes it is not. But maybe there is still some sort of system behind it?


It’s actually on purpose. I am trying to fade out the repetitions. Sometimes I keep the full formula at the beginning of a section, but not further on. That’s the system, if there is one!


Kd 15 segment 170

“You should not recite the Teaching by singing in a drawn-out voice”—in earlier instances it is always “singing in a drawn-out fashion”.


Thanks! I have now standardised it to “singing in a drawn-out fashion”. There is too much redundancy in “singing … in a voice”. Keep up the good work!


Kd 15 segment 400

“There were no shoulder-strap”

“… no shoulder straps:white_check_mark:


Yes, and I think the hyphen should be left out, as you have done.


?? No idea how this happened… I didn’t take the hyphen out consciously… it somehow… evaporated:fog: ??? But good if this is how it should be! :grin:


Just thinking about a term:

In segments 461–464 the cutting of cloth is discussed. Instead of tearing the cloth to pieces by hand the Buddha allows a “satthaka” in order to cut it which is translated as “knife”. Imagining I would have to cut cloth with a knife, I just suspect the result would be even worse than when tearing it apart by hand (which is actually not bad if you tear along with the thread). How about scissors? That would really make it easier.

I was then wondering if scissors were known at the Buddha’s time or not, and had a short look at Wikipedia: Here it says they are already attested to as early as 3.000 to 4.000 years ago in Mesopotamia (which is not that far from India… and scissors would not have been the only influence that came to India from that direction).

The Pali lookup dictionary says “pen-knife” for satthaka. Could it be that this “pen-knife” looked a bit like this?


Just a thought from someone who has done some sewing in their life… :scissors:

Looking at this chapter, this just makes me aware how much we take things for granted, little things like a proper sewing needle, or a sewing machine even, a good pair of scissors, etc… If they are not available we have to somehow do without, just as they did at the time of the Buddha.


Good point. PED actually gives scissors as an alternative translation of satthaka. The commentaries are silent, unfortunately. Let me think about it. :thinking:


In segment 543, “There was no shoulder-strap”, and similarly in segment 545. I’m making again the hyphens “evaporate”. :white_check_mark:


They’ve been liberated! :crescent_moon:


Segment 757

“one who is naked should not ate staple foods …”

“… should not eat:white_check_mark:


Kd14 Sg484 and 491
Is it funniness in the Pāli text that there’s a question mark at the end of both of these segments?
pārājikaṃ āyasmā ajjhāpanno’ti?


Thanks for bringing this up. Having looked at it, I find it hard to tell whether it should be considered as a question or a statement. Early Pali manuscripts do not have punctuation, and so the question mark in the Mahāsaṅgīti Pali is itself a recent introduction. I am not convinced it is correct.

The verb codeti normally means to accuse or admonish. My sense is that to codeti someone never is a question, but a direct accusation. Also, since I translate codeti “accuse”, it doesn’t really work to just add a question mark to the English translation. To add a question mark I would probably have to change my translation. Unless we come across some clear evidence that codeti can be used in questions, I will probably disregard the question mark of the Pali.


Kd 15 segment 1004

“The next morning Prince Bodhi had various kinds of fine food prepared, and had the entire the Kokanada stilt house covered with white cloth”

"… and had the entire Kokanada stilt house… " (no second “the”). :white_check_mark: